Hail the heroes who made a miracle in Thailand

Rescuers walk toward the entrance to a cave complex where five were still trapped in Thailand.

Even as the world cheers the rescue of all 12 boys and their coach from those flooded caves in Thailand, let us all pause to honor Thai Navy SEAL Saman Kunan, a volunteer who died halfway through the effort to save the Wild Boars in the week after they’d been found.

Kunan died in a flash flood Friday after delivering a payload of oxygen deep in the Thaum Luang caverns. But that only inspired the rest of the rescue team, more than 140 divers from at least six nations, to battle on.

Their resolve paid off Tuesday, when rescuers guided the last four boys and the coach to the surface — a grueling nine-hour trek consisting of walking, wading, climbing and diving through a waterlogged and often-narrow cave network.

Honor, too, the doctor and three SEALS who were the last to leave the caverns, having first made sure the boys were safely out.

One diver, Narongsuk Keasub, explained to the BBC that many of the rescuers are parents themselves, which added to the mission’s urgency: “We feel like it’s our children who are inside the cave.”

But, in a way, the whole world felt that way — and shared in the joy when the SEALs announced “mission accomplished.”

Miracles do happen — but often only because people like Saman Kunan insist on making it so. They are the best of us.

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